Queen of the Damned

Director:Michael Rymer
Writers:Scott Abbott and Michael Petroni
Warner Bros.; R; 105 minutes
Cast:Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Marguerite Moreau

Imagine if Marilyn Manson got up on stage and announced that he's a vampire. (Who knows, maybe he already did). It'd seem like a silly publicity stunt to drain attention away from Eminem or Britney. This is basically what vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend, filling in Tom Cruise's Interview with a Vampire role) does in Queen of the Damned. Problem is, mere mortals have trouble believing Lestat because he's a famous goth-rock star. But these types of high-publicity hijinks don't sit well with the silent vampire majority such as fey Marius (Vincent Perez), who's content to remain in the closet, er, crypt. Lestat loses even more face among the cranky undead when he hooks up with the title queen, an ancient Egyptian burdened under a Transylvanian accent, who wants to rule the world and destroy humanity. Late pop star Aaliyah plays the part of Queen Akasha. It's a sad and inappropriate end to her tragically short career.

Ill-fated and under-conceived, Queen of the Damned lacks the lightweight camp or real nail-biting fright that could have redeemed it.

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